Election 2016

"A Vote For Hillary Clinton Is a Vote for War"

The former first lady, senator, and secretary of state has a perfect record of hawkishness.

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During tonight's debate hosted by Fox Business, each GOP presidential candidate will doubtlessly beat his chest and proclaim that he alone can destroy ISIS, Islamic terrorism, Russia, China, Mexico, Canada, and all our other existential foes. Some will talk about killing not just jihadists but jihadists' families and others will talk about carpet bombing the Middle East back into the Stone Age. They will accuse each other of being "soft" on terrorism and not being willing to do what it takes (including giving the government a free hand to surveil us all) to win a "civilizational" threat.

And you know what? Not a single jamuck on that stage will be as bellicose as Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

As a senator from New York and as secretary of state, Clinton was very much in favor of wars wherever we could find them. According to her own memoirs, she even was a hawk as first lady, pushing Bill Clinton to bomb sites in Yugoslavia.

As I write in a new column at The Daily Beast,

As secretary of state, she rarely missed an opportunity to back more and bigger interventions. "Clinton backed a bold escalation of the Afghanistan war," wrote Michael Crowley in Time in 2014. "She pressed Obama to arm the Syrian rebels, and later endorsed air strikes against the Assad regime. She backed intervention in Libya, and her State Department helped enable Obama's expansion of lethal drone strikes. In fact, Clinton may have been the administration's most reliable advocate for military action." That's exactly the reason why Republican John "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran" McCain joked to The New Republic that it would be a "tough choice" for him if the presidency came down to Clinton or the libertarian-leaning dove Rand Paul. "We came, we saw, he died," Clinton herself joked to CBS News after the death of Moammar Qaddafi in the wake of bombing runs joined by the United States. Even after Libya was plunged into utter chaos and has become a "safe haven" for ISIS, Clinton still calls our intervention there "smart power at its best." Which raises the question: What could dumb power possibly look like?

Clinton exemplifies the conflation of American foreign policy with military power, which is a dangerous and largely unobserved development since World War II. To the extent that it made sense during the Cold War, it is a relic of a geopolitical reality (and serious threat in the form of the Soviet Union) that simply no longer exists. Islamic terrorism is a problem and so is instability in the Middle East (which we kicked up to the next level and beyond). Russia and China have interests that don't align perfectly with ours, but this isn't 1949 or even 1989. But the military-industrial complex identified by Dwight Eisenhower, who knew a little about waging war, has a logic all its own.

"Since the beginning of the Cold War, we built up a very substantial military," Gordon Adams, a professor emeritus of international politics at American University and former Bill Clinton adviser on security and military budgets, told me recently in an interview. "To some degree ever since then, the instinct in American policy has been to say that the most useful tool to reach for to demonstrate American leadership, to demonstrate American commitment, to demonstrate American capacity, is our military capability."

Read the full article here.

At tonight's debate, I doubt any of the Republicans will take Clinton to task for being too hawkish (Ted Cruz might slip in a Libya-related jibe and then muddy the waters by talking about how the Obama administration left Iraq and Afghanistan too soon or is committed to the destruction of the American Dream and the amnestying of Mexicans). Which means that come November and in regards to foreign policy, we'll likely have a choice between Republicans who want to start more wars as a matter of principle and a Democrat who has a proven track record of supporting wars. Which isn't that much of a choice.

Related: "Which President Bombed Iraq Best?"

Details, sources here.

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  1. So,she wants to be Boudica reborn? I

  2. So,she wants to be Boudica reborn? I

  3. Hillary 2016: BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!

    1. Bernie’s heart needs to be torn out and sacrificed. Good choice he’s a socialist and has no brain.Can the Hiildog be killed?

      1. She won’t die until she is through with us.

        1. Wolfisbane is our only hope.

  4. OT: I love Australia… “Dr Mark Eldridge told the BBC the male kangaroo was trying to lift the female in order to mate with her.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new…..urder.html

    1. Why didn’t he just put something in her Foster’s?

      1. BTW,I had a Aussie client that was an engineer at Shell in Belpre ,OH.Told him I had a oil can of Foster’s now and the and he called them ‘small cans’.He could drink Guinness like water.

    2. Thanks a *lot*, Swiss.

      Now this perverted commentariat will be linking to that damn monkey and frog video again.

      1. [Googles “that damn monkey and frog video”]

        1. Not gonna click it. Wouldn’t be prudent.

  5. “During tonight’s debate hosted by Fox Business, each GOP presidential candidate will doubtlessly beat his chest and proclaim that he alone can destroy ISIS, ….. Canada, and all our other existential foes.”

    Damn. They’re finally catching on. Better unleash another Arctic Front.

    1. Northumbria is the real threat.

  6. I figure Hillary will start a war just to prove that a woman president can kill innocent people just as well as a man can.

    1. “The Genocide Ceiling: a study by Dr. David Lisak examining the intersection of sexism and genocide in the heteronormative, cis privileged, patriarchal West.”

  7. It is not just that she would start wars. It is much worse than that. She would start wars for reasons that have nothing to do with the national interests and after she starts them has shown none of the will or competence necessary to win those wars as commander in chief.

    A vote for Hillary is not so much a vote for war. It is a vote for war fought for humanitarian or amorphous reasons fought in a half hearted and incompetent manner.

    1. Her criticism of George W. Bush was that he wasn’t going far enough. That’s why Obama beat her for the nomination–she was a hawk during the Bush Administration when Democrats were sick of war.

      She’s a bigger neocon than Bush was.

      And the thing is because progressive politics are all about principals over principles, that if she wins the nomination, the progressives won’t give a damn that she’s a hawk. They’ll denounce the Republicans as a bunch of warhappy jerkoffs and line up behind the bellicose bitch anyway.

      1. She is different than Bush. She follows the Samantha Power theory of foreign policy that says the US should never go to war to protect its interests and instead should go to war for humanitarian reasons. Worse, she is a progressive who despises the military and thinks wars can be fought in a clean humanitarian manner. So with her you will get things like Kosovo and Libya, wars that were not in the national interest and are done with your military greatly restricted and done to accomplish unachievable conditions of victory.

        1. I almost wish she was only in favor of starting wars for strictly humanitarian reasons. At least that would show some logical thought, however misguided.

          As it stands, there are no discernible reasons for the wars she backs/starts apart from creating chaos. How was her killing of Ghaddafi or her trying to bomb Assad out of power supposed to be humanitarian? Sure they’re dictators, but compared to the radical Islamist factions who replaced the former and are close to replacing the latter — these guys are practically Santa Claus. Given no other alternatives, I’d much rather take my chances living under a regime like Assad’s — who at least has a secular outlook — then some bearded apocalyptic psycho who will chop off my head and gang-rape my family if I so much as sport the wrong kind of beard.

          I see Hillary as much less of a bleeding heart would-be Mother Teresa and much more of a would-be Wicked Witch of the West who cackles delightedly while her flying monkeys rain down destruction and has zero plan for what to do after the dust settles.

    2. I could easily see her stumbling into a war: using military force for one of the ridiculous reasons you mention, and then being stupid enough to act shocked when the other guy retaliates.

  8. The idea of enforcing a no fly zone over Syria, which WILL result in direct conflict with Russia, isn’t getting nearly the press it should. Clinton and most of the Republicans all support this nutty idea.

    1. It is a completely nutty idea. What is it supposed to accomplish? And whatever that is, it is at the risk of a direct confrontation with Russia. It is the dumbest idea imaginable.

    2. You’ve got that right, Brady, especially since Russia would be quickly whipped conventionally and then just might decide to fall back on their sweet, sweet nukes. Risking war with them to back the jihadis over a patch of ground no one who doesn’t live there should give a damn about is absolute madness.

  9. Damn Gillespie and his republican bashi…er, excuse me. Wrong thread…

  10. Reason‘s upgraded Canada to the class of “our other existential foes”?

    I haz a proud-y.

    (Kinda like a chubby, only … oh, never mind …)

  11. Heh.

    My wife’s looking over my shoulder and muttering “Welcome to the bigs, our home and native land.”

    1. You may remain the True North, BUT YOU WON’T BE STRONG OR FREE FOR LONG!!!!!1!!1!!1!!!!11eleventyoneone!1

  12. This is a war on women who support war

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